“I know it’s uncertain times” How often have those words started an email you’ve been sent this week or said out loud on a phone call in the past few days? With the entire nation waiting with bated breath, it feels almost dystopian. This uncertainty inherently breeds some level of anxiety in all of us. And with the majority of our teams working remote, it is more important than ever to focus on the health and success of our people.
It’s been a long first week in the wild world that has now become our reality. As someone who has worked remote his entire career and who runs remote teams, I know the challenges of working alone far too well. That being said, I know that in our current situation, it is extremely tough to keep the negative thoughts at bay.
Have you experienced thoughts like, “How does this impact my clients’ business? Will they still want to work with us?”, and “How do I do best by my employees and keep the lights on?
Many are talking about their new experiences working from home but who’s talking about the inevitable feelings of isolation? I’m sure y’all have experienced mood swings just as I have. Some are finding it harder to wake up to their alarm. Some are experiencing loss of appetite even with all their snacks around. I wake up every morning already stressed about the day I’ve just started. Stressed about how to best lead my company, how we are going to all survive this, and even about my upcoming wedding. Oh, and we lost a restaurant client. How many more may come?
Working alone does not help when confronting these questions. We are most certainly herd animals. No matter how shy, no matter how much of a self-proclaimed or officially assessed introvert we are, we still crave human interaction. Remote work will emotionally swing you in different directions. You will have recognizable highs along with severe lows. My productivity seems to mirror these swings.
As a small business owner, I worry about the future. It’s honestly a mix of anger, melancholy fear and hope. This insane cocktail of emotion has been nothing but draining. I’m exhausted!
But today, I woke up differently.
I first thought about hope. I thought about humanity.
So, I wanted to write something without a filter to put all of the thoughts in my head from this week down on paper. My hope is that you find these words comforting or at least helpful to know that others are feeling the same way.
Before you read any further, please know that if you are experiencing any of these feelings, Your feelings are valid. Let me say that again… YOUR FEELINGS ARE VALID.
At times you can feel guilty for not working as hard, or working in a new environment you’re not accustomed to. Does it feel like everything is wrong? You have to give yourself a break. You are allowed to feel however you feel.
Please consider giving yourself the same grace you give your closest of friends and family. These are uncharted waters for most of us. There is no playbook to follow or SOP to go by. We’re creating a path forward each and every day. I guarantee that you are doing the very best you can and THAT IS ENOUGH. I’m reminding myself of this daily and hope that you will try your hardest to do so too.
What can you do to alleviate some of those feelings?
Learn something new and take inventory of what you have. There are a ton of free resources online you can use to learn a new skill. Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn but never had the time? Well you have the time now. For employers, is there a way to upskill or cross-skill your workforce? Can you set them up for future successes by using this time wisely?
Seek relaxation for its proper use. Allow yourself to take a break. Take a timeout from work, from your responsibilities, from the things you can’t control. This doesn’t mean to use your free time scrolling through the endless stories about the virus.. There are a ton of sites with great information about the virus but this type of researching doesn’t lead to calming thoughts or provoke happiness. Rely on a reputable site, like the ones ran by your state and local organizations, but do that during the “on” part of your day. Take the time to recharge in your own way. Make time for yourself and those who may be at home with you.
Watch something new on Netflix. Better yet, you can use Netflix Party to watch together with your friends and family. It is an easy way to stay social while you isolate yourself! I like to browse through Human Being Bros for some uplifting content. Play that board game you mastered as a kid. Color a fun picture. Smoke a brisket. Whatever it is that makes you happy. Do more of it!
Keep yourself healthy, and that means more than just keeping your bum clean! I noticed at all of the grocery stores that I went to the produce section looked fully stocked and as good as ever. We have to remember that our overall health and immune system starts with what we put in our body. I know we are stocking up with frozen items so that they will last longer, but we have to remember to eat fruits and vegetables to keep our immune system in check. And get enough sleep!
Build each other up. It is so important that we do not lose our humanity. As an employer, check in on your employees as often as you can. As a human, check in on your family, neighbors, friends, and those you haven’t spoken to recently. Even something so small can have a big impact in times like this.
Above all, have hope. As a region, believe in our power together, we will get through this.
Have faith in humanity, have faith in yourself. Use the resources you have, connect, move, pray and listen to scientists.
– Nick Dokich
For updates on the current situation please go to any of these state/local sites.
Department of Labor:
High Deductible Health Plans and Expenses Relative to COVID-19: